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Spin Control

Wed., Aug. 4, 2010, 6 p.m.

Didier on FMAP: More pork

While state officials were breathing a sigh of relief that the additional Medicaid money seemed to be moving through Congress months with U.S. Sen. Patty Murray's help -- staving off a state budget problem and the need for a possible special session in Olympia -- one of her campaign opponents was blasting it as another "bail out."

Republican Clint Didier said Murray was rewarding state Democrats, who control the Legislature and the governor's office for fiscal irresponsibility.

“So now we have Sen. Murray passing another bail-out, but this time she’s bailing out her own Democrat Party in Washington state, and rewarding them for their fiscal irresponsibility. It’s what we’ve come to expect from an incumbent ‘bring home the pork’ politician. It’s hard to read it as anything other than another calculated move by a Senator whose reelection is in jeopardy. She’s not only trying to save some for votes for herself, but also reward the irresponsible spending by the State Democrats who dug themselves into a budget crisis in the Legislature. We wouldn’t have this budget crisis here if the state legislators had done their job and made the budget cuts that are needed."

Didier suggested that cuts could have been made lots of places, not just in Medicaid services. But if they were going to cut Medicaid expenses, they should start with abortion.

To read today's story on the Senate's decision to cut off debate on Murray's amendment to give the states an extra $16 billion in federal medical assistance percentages (FMAP) and $10 billion in education assistance for teachers' salaries, click here.

Didier is trying to beat out another Republican, former state Sen. Dino Rossi and businessman Paul Akers, for the chance to go head-to-head against Murray in the fall. Rossi said previously he he wouldn't support extra FMAP money unless it was offset by spending cuts. Wednesday night in Vancouver, he said he still didn't support this measure: "It was done in a hasty manner. She put a permanent tax in place for a temporary fix, and she’s taking money from our troops," he told The Columbian without elaborating. For more on Rossi, click here. 

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The Spokesman-Review's political team keeps a critical eye on local, state and national politics.